|Urgent Action||12 July 2003|
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All airports designated by the Secretary of State are required to establish an airport consultative committee, or some form of consultation, if a committee is not seen as the appropriate forum for consultation. The airport management are the body responsible for establishing the commitee, but once established it has to be independent of the airport. The government has issued guidelines for the structure and running of these committees.
The one exception is Farnborough Airport. TAG Aviation, managers of Farnborough, have refused to establish a committee, or accept any responsibility for establishing a committee. Instead an illegitimate committee has been established by Rushmoor Borough Council - a committee that does not follow government guidelines, and fails to meet either the Civil Aviation Act or the Fairoaks ruling.
The comittee should be equally divided between the three sectional interests. On the illegitimate Rushmoor committee, of the seven seats (one third of 21 seats) allocated to local councils, Rushmoor have 4 councillors, of the seven seats allocated to local community interests, only two have been allocated to groups who remotely represent the local community.
There are plans to increase the number of seats allocated to local councils, who already occupy local community seats, making the committee even more unfairly biased against the local community. The arguments previously used to exclude the local community were that it would make the committee too large and unwieldy!
The inaugural meting of the illegitimate Rushmoor committee was a disaster. Pat Devereaux, a county councillor and Rushmoor councillor, refused to allow anyone to speak who had a position contrary to TAG.
Not content with virtually excluding the local community, Rushmoor and TAG, are now attempting to impose an 'independent' chairman on the committee, a person who is unfit to chair any airfield consultation committee. He is Robin Mackay, currently advisor to Fairoaks on planning matters, and previously manager at Fairoaks.
It was Mackay who was responsible for excluding all community representation at Fairoaks. A situation only resolved through the local community seeking relief in the High Court. The judge was scathing in has attack on Fairoaks and the way they had behaved to exclude the local community. [see Richard Buxton or AEF for Fairoaks ruling]
The next meeting of the illegitimate Rushmoor committee will be at 2pm Thursday afternoon 17 July 2003, at the BAE Systems HQ alongside the airport. Part of the government guidelines is that such meetings should be well publicized, there has been no publicity.
It is important that this meeting is well attended by the public.
What activists do after the meeting, having gained access to the heart of the BAE Systems establishment, is entirely up to them.
[BVEJ newsletters passim]
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